March: The return of the ancients

Sandhill cranes in flight
Right now as you read this, sandhill cranes, by the hundreds of thousands, are staged along the Platte River in Nebraska ready to venture further north to dance a little and then settle down to raise a family. Get ready, because some of these birds are in Minnesota right now. On a warm and calm late March or early April evening as the sun is setting, venture out to one of our fine metro natural areas, sit quietly and listen for the far off call of the crane; a sound that resonates in and is recognized by the primordial portion of your brain.

These regal birds never fail to inspire and thrill. One specific spot to look for cranes is the marsh that is east of the sand dam in Hastings. The trail on the sand dam provides a great vantage point to watch for a pair that has nested in the marsh for a number of years. The International Crane Foundation has wonderful information on this bird. Enjoy.